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Composer Scott Lee Releases 'Through The Mangrove Tunnels'

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Performed By The JACK Quartet With Steven Beck And Russell Lacy.

On Friday, November 13, 2020, composer Scott Lee releases Through the Mangrove Tunnels on Panoramic Recordings, an imprint of New Focus Recordings.

Through the Mangrove Tunnels, performed by the JACK Quartet with pianist Steven Beck and drummer Russell Lacy, is a 45-minute work inspired by Lee's experiences growing up exploring the swamps and bayous of Florida. Ranging from ominous and eerie grooves with otherworldly flourishes to ethereal, gliding strings over pulsing drums and looping harmonies, its eight movements evoke both the dense, swampy undergrowth of the mangroves and the expansive seascape that surrounds them.

Through the Mangrove Tunnels draws from Lee's memories as well as the colorful history of Weedon Island, a nature preserve in St. Petersburg, Florida. Weedon Island's many legends include ceremonial gatherings of Native Americans, landings by Spanish conquistadors, burned-down speakeasies, shootouts, bootlegging, a failed movie studio, plane crashes, and an axe-murder. Despite the island's long history of encounters with humans, to the newcomer it appears to be a pristine natural landscape. Though they have been almost fully reclaimed by nature, traces of its history remain: the line in the dirt of a long-forgotten airplane runway, an ancient sea-faring canoe buried in the mud. The piece evokes this history in impressionistic fashion alongside Lee's personal memories of canoeing through the island's mangrove tunnels. In combining these stories, the continuum of past and present is collapsed, resulting in an exploration of the relationships between memory, history, place, home, and the natural world.

About Scott Lee
Praised as "colorful" and "engaging" (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Scott Lee's music often takes inspiration from popular genres, exploring odd-meter grooves and interlocking hockets while featuring pointillistic orchestration and extended performance techniques. His music marries the traditional intricacy of classical form with the more body-centered and visceral language of contemporary popular music, creating a complex music of the present with broad appeal. The Berkshire Edge described the world premiere of his Slack Tide at Tanglewood Music Center as having "moments both of calm and maximum tension...we've never heard anything like it."

Lee has worked with leading orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C, the Moravian Philharmonic, Raleigh Civic Symphony, the Occasional Symphony, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Winston-Salem Symphony, as well as chamber groups such as the JACK Quartet, yMusic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Deviant Septet, chatterbird, ShoutHouse, Verdant Vibes, and pop artist Ben Folds. Recent commissioners include the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Florida State Music Teachers Association, loadbang, and the Raleigh Civic Symphony.

Notable performances include the world premiere of Lee's Vicious Circles by Symphony in C and a reading and performance of Anadyr by the American Composers Orchestra, conducted by George Manahan, as part of the 27th Annual Underwood New Music Readings In New York City. Three pieces by Lee - Drip Study, Tourbillion, and Car Alarm Strut - were premiered at a Tanglewood Music Center concert led by Michael Gandolfi with coaching by composer Osvaldo Golijov. He was Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra's Composer-in-Residence for the 2019-2020 season.

Lee's honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, winner of the Symphony In C Young Composer's Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition, and the Gustav Klemm Award in Composition from the Peabody Institute. In 2020, Lee received fellowships from the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Copland House's CULTIVATE program.

Active as a music educator, Lee is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Florida School of Music, and has previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an Instructor at Duke University. Lee earned a PhD in Composition at Duke University, and also holds degrees from the Peabody Institute and Vanderbilt University. Learn more at

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